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Uncategorized Zimbabwe: Tobacco Exports Gross U.S.$86 Million
‘Hong Kong has significantly increased its uptake of Zimbabwean tobacco
with more than 1,3 million kg worth US$10,9 million from 415 800kg worth
US$2,7 million taken up last year.’

ASH Daily News for 23 April 2013


Manchester: Police Commissioner backs plain cigarette pack plan

Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd is backing plans to standardise cigarette packaging in a bid to deter youngsters from smoking and reduce the financial burden on public health care services.

He has also dismissed claims by tobacco companies that standardised packaging will increase the sale of illicit tobacco.

Source: Salford Online – 22 April 2013

Northern Ireland: Health Trust campaign to cut smoking in pregnancy

A Northern Ireland campaign to help women to stop smoking during pregnancy has been launched by midwives in the South Eastern Health Trust.

The trust’s figures show that 15% of its maternity patients smoke during their pregnancy, despite the damage it does to their unborn children.

Source: UK Wired News – 23 April 2013

Smoking shisha is a not safe alternative to cigarettes, warn experts

A study carried out by University of California San Francisco has found that whilst smoking shisha exposes users to different chemicals than cigarettes, they are still harmful.

Research chemist Peyton Jacob said: ‘People want to know if it is a lesser health risk if they switch from cigarettes to smoking a water-pipe on a daily basis.

‘We found that water-pipe smoking is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, nor is it likely to be an effective harm-reduction strategy.’

See also:
– Nine ways smoking a hookah can spread herpes and cause cancer, Rolling Out

Source: Daily Mail – 22 April 2013

USA: New York City proposes to raise the age at which tobacco can be purchased from 18 to 21

No one under 21 will be able to buy cigarettes in New York City, under a new proposal that marks the latest in a decade of moves to crack down on smoking in the nation’s largest city.

Source: Mail Online – 22 April 2013

US supreme court rejects challenge to new cigarette labeling

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a tobacco industry challenge to a controversial 2009 federal law that mandates graphic warning labels on cigarettes. The high court refused to hear the case, essentially upholding a lower court ruling in favour of the government’s labeling changes.

Source: Medical News Today – 22 April 2013

USA: California mulls $2 tax for cigarettes

California’s anti-smoking advocates are asking their legislature to back a $2 state tax hike on cigarettes – double the increase voters rejected last year – on the heels of President Barack Obama’s urging a federal cigarette tax increase earlier this month.

The proposed increase in California would lift its excise tax on a pack of cigarettes to $2.87, steeply raising the cost of smoking in the most populous U.S. state to help fund health-care programs.

Source: Reuters – 22 April 2013

Scotland: Pensioner stabbed wife with kitchen knife in row over cigarette


Scotland: Pensioner stabbed wife with kitchen knife in row over cigarette

A woman suffered five stab wounds that left her permanently scarred after an argument that began when her husband asked her for a cigarette. Medics said her injuries were potentially life-threatening.

Source: STV – 11 April 2013

Wales: Man fell to his death while smoking on window sill

A man who was sitting on the window sill of his bedroom to smoke fell 20ft to his death, an inquiry heard.

Source: South Wales Argus – 11 April 2013

Gwyneth Paltrow: I smoke one cigarette per week

Gwyneth Paltrow, who is known for her strict diet and intense fitness regimens,  has admitted In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar that her guilty pleasure is to smoke a cigarette once a week.

Source: Yahoo! News – 11 April 2013

Researchers identify novel approach to study COPD and treatment efficacy

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have pinpointed a genetic signature for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from airway cells harvested utilizing a minimally invasive procedure. The findings provide a novel way to study COPD and could lead to new treatments and ways to monitor patients’ response to those treatments. The study is published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Source: Medical Xpress – 11 April 2013

USA: NYC voters like cigarette display ban plan

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows New Yorkers strongly support Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to keep cigarettes out of sight in stores.

Sixty-eight percent of city voters back the idea while thirty percent oppose it.

Source: Wall Street Journal – 11 April 2013

US budget: Obama unveils a plan to smoke big tobacco

President Obama seems intent to use his budget proposal as a weapon against tobacco with an attempt to raise the federal tax on cigarettes from $1.01 per pack to $1.95 – a $0.94 increase.

Comparing tobacco fight to the Opium Wars – The Japan Times

NEW YORK – To know if tobacco is the equivalent of the opium wars in China, it is useful to briefly review history. When Christopher Columbus explored the New World in 1492, he found the natives smoking a native plant, tobacco, which they did both for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. He was the first to introduce it in Europe.

From 1617 to 1793, tobacco was the most widely used and valuable staple export from the English American mainland colonies and the United States

Columbus could have never imagined that, shortly after its introduction in Europe, tobacco would become one of the main threats to health in several Latin American and Asian countries, just as opium would plague China in the 19th century.

Tobacco, one of the most addictive substances in the world, was introduced to China via Japan or the Philippines in the 1600s. In 1643, Fang Yizhi, a Chinese scholar, was one of the first to warn of the dangers of exposure to tobacco. He wrote that smoking tobacco for too long would “blacken the lungs” and lead to death. Chongzhen, the Chinese emperor at the time, outlawed growing tobacco and smoking its leaves.

In 1858, the Treaty of Tianjin (Tientsin) which ended the first part of the Second Opium War (1856-1860) not only legalized the import of opium but allowed cigarettes to be imported to China duty-free. By 1900, foreign companies thoroughly permeated China.

In 1929, Fritz Lickint, a German scientist from Dresden, published the first statistical evidence linking tobacco use and lung cancer, a finding that was confirmed in 1950 in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Only in 1999 did the Phillip Morris tobacco company acknowledge that “there is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers.”

Today, while its use has diminished considerably in industrialized countries, it is having a devastating effect on the health of the Chinese population.

As Dr. Bernard Lown, a famous cardiologist, already indicated in 2007, “the struggle against tobacco is not being won, it is being relocated.” He also denounced that cigarettes are becoming more addictive and more lethal because of the higher tar and nicotine content.

The state-owned China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), trading as China Tobacco and founded in 1982, accounts for roughly 30 percent of the world’s total production of cigarettes, and is the largest manufacturer of tobacco products. China National Tobacco Corporation falls under the jurisdiction of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA).

The STMA has been under constant pressure from the World Trade Organization to loosen its monopoly. Since 2001, increased access has been granted to foreign companies.

Today, although CNTC dominates China’s market, foreign brands can still be found in large cities in China. In 2007, it was estimated that CNTC had 32 percent of the world tobacco market.

Tobacco smoking still continues to place a heavy toll on the Chinese people’s health. It is estimated that every day roughly 2,000 Chinese die because of smoking. China has now approximately 360 million smokers — a number greater than the U.S. population — who consume 37 percent of the world’s cigarettes. In addition, almost 800 million people suffer the consequences of second-hand smoke.

According to the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, smoking will be responsible for approximately 3.2 million deaths annually by 2030.

Tobacco is also costly to the country’s economy. Although tobacco companies paid 864.9 billion yuan in taxes in 2012, when the health care costs of the people made sick by tobacco are combined with lost productivity, the total cost is probably much higher. The increased health costs as a result of smoking are part of the tragic legacy of tobacco.

Paradoxically, while the U.S. government has been extremely successful in discouraging smoking at home, its pressure on Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand to break their domestic tobacco monopolies has resulted in their markets being flooded with American cigarettes. This prompted former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop to state that “people will look on this era of the health of the world, as imperialistic as anything since the British Empire — but worse.”

By issuance of the China Tobacco Control Plan (2012-2015), the Chinese government has indicated its intention to lower the negative impact of smoking. The plan, however, has been widely criticized for its lack of concrete proposals.

To effectively combat smoking, it is necessary to mobilize communities, educate the people about the health risks and high costs of smoking, impose punitive fines in class action suits and increase tax on cigarettes.

Unless these measures are implemented, tobacco will end up causing more damage to the Chinese people than the Opium Wars did in the 19th century.

Cesar Chelala, M.D. and Ph.D., is an international public health consultant and the author of “Tobacco or Health,” a publication of the Pan American Health Organization.


Tobacco News

Scotland tobacco display ban to come into force in April for larger stores

New guidance from the Scottish government has confirmed that larger stores selling cigarettes and other products will have to comply with the tobacco display ban by 29th April 2013.
Source: Talking Retail – 28 January 2013

Wales: No need to lift smoking ban for actors say campaigners

Anti-smoking campaigners have argued that there is no need to lift a ban for TV actors on set after the BBC apologised for misleading evidence to an Assembly inquiry.

Elen de Lacy, chief executive of ASH Wales said: “The BBC’s admission that it was able to film smoking scenes for Casualty, despite the smoking ban, underlines our case that there is no need to change the law in Wales.

“The smoking ban protects public health in Wales and we must hold firm against any attempts to dilute it.”

Source: Daily Post – 25 January 2013

How cigarette smuggling fuels Africa’s Islamist violence

Contrabrand tobacco is a $1bn trade in north Africa, run by extremists including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who masterminded the attack on the Algerian gas plant. The trade is highly profitable – and very low risk.

“Tobacco smuggling is lucrative and widespread,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH. “It helps to fund global terrorism and conflict, encourages corruption and remains a source of funds for some of the most repressive regimes in the world.”

Source: The Observer – 27 January 2013

Prison tobacco ban dropped for fear of causing a riot

A trial project to ban smoking in a number of jails has been postponed amid fears that it would provoke disturbances.

Plans to introduce a smoking ban in all prisons have been postponed due to a review of prisoners privileges which could see the removal of TV sets in cells. According to the Times, officials think that the addition of a smoking ban to this may compound resentment and lead to unrest.

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Source: The Times – 19 January 2013

Opinion: Tobacco companies spend billions on packaging for a reason

Dr Ross Morgan, a Consultant Respiratory Physician and Chairman of ASH Ireland, writes in response to a column published in, in which the author dismissed the assertion that female smokers buy tobacco products based on attractive packaging. Smokers may be addicted, Dr Morgan writes, but an industry that spends billions on design and packaging does so for one reason alone: because it works.
Source: The Journal – 28 January 2013

Video: Councils invest in tobacco while helping smokers quit

The BBC takes the example of the West Midlands region to investigate how councils invest in cigarette firms.

The report includes interviews with Prof Rod Griffiths, a former West Midlands director of public health, and Cllr Adrian Hardman who leads Worcestershire County Council.

Source: BBC News – 18 January 2013

Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense?

Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say US society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?
Source: The Observer – 27 January 2013

Nicotine replacement therapy’s positive impact on smokers is more than puff

Jenny Bryan explains why, although nicotine replacement therapy is commonly prescribed and used nowadays, its journey to this point was anything but smooth.
Source: PJ Online – 22 January 2013

USA: Rep. Dick Armey’s Tobacco Ties

A three-part blog by Anne Landman on former US House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R) and his relationship with Big Tobacco throughout his career. Part 1 (link below) focuses on the early years of his career.

Part 2: Dick Armey’s Long History of Working With Industry-Backed Groups

Part 3: FreedomWorks Continues Dick Armey’s Defense of Big Tobacco

Source: Desmogblog – 23 January 2013
Parliamentary News

Parliamentary question: ASH funding

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health,

(1) what funding his Department has allocated to the charity, Action on Smoking and Health in each of the last three years;

(2) whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of its funding provided to the charity, Action on Smoking and Health and of the way in which that funding has been used;

(3) on how many occasions ministers and officials in his Department have met the charity, Action on Smoking and Health in the last 12 months.

Anna Soubry: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) received funding of £220,000 in 2010-11 through the Department’s “Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations” (the Section 64 Scheme). ASH received this grant specifically to carry out a defined project titled “Capitalising on Smokefree: the way forward”.

ASH has subsequently received funding of £150,000 in 2011-12 and £150,000 in 2012-13, also through the Department’s Section 64 Scheme. The grants were awarded for work to support delivery of Healthy lives, healthy people: a tobacco control plan for England.

All third sector organisations in receipt of a grant from the Department are expected to provide quarterly and end-of-project reports, a summary of total spending on the project, and yearly accounts. Senior officials have met ASH 12 times in the last year to ensure good governance of the Section 64 grant and effective delivery of their work on implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan for England. The Department is satisfied that the grants to ASH have been used appropriately and that ASH has delivered the Department’s objectives for the funding.

Details of ministerial meetings with external stakeholders are published quarterly in arrears on the Department’s website here.

The Department does not keep a central diary of the engagements that every departmental official has had with ASH representatives. In discharging their official duties, Ministers, special advisors and departmental officials meet with representatives from such organisations in a wide range of fora, including speaking engagements, conferences and seminars.

Source: Hansard – 29 January 2013
Industry Watch

Imperial Tobacco blames profit slow down on black market

Imperial Tobacco said it will see slower profit growth in the first half of its financial year as key European and Russian markets continue to struggle against black market competition.

Sales performance in Europe was hit by a broader market decline that Imperial said was linked to the rise in illicit tobacco trade and a tough economic environment.

Net tobacco revenue rose 2 percent over the three months ending in December.

The manufacturer also announced that its long-standing Finance Director Bob Dyrbus is to retire from the board. He has been working for the company for 25 years as a senior executive and has held his position as the head of finance since 1996.

Source: International Business Times – 30 January 2013

Ex-White House physician joins BAT board

British American Tobacco has appointed one of the longest serving White House physicians (14 years), Brigadier General (retired) Dr Richard Tubb, as a non-executive director.

BAT Chairman Richard Burrows said: “I am delighted to be welcoming such a prominent and well respected expert in the field of tobacco harm reduction to our board. This appointment further demonstrates our commitment to putting science at the heart of our business.”

Source: This is Money – 29 January 2013

Imperial Tobacco faces investor revolt over bonus revamp

Imperial Tobacco is facing a shareholder revolt over proposed resolutions that would cede increased power to the board and mean that they would not have to consult investors on some of the decisions.

Three shareholder groups have expressed their “extreme disappointment” in the company’s inability to adequately consult on the policies.

The new developments come less than a year after the “Shareholder Spring” which saw investors vote down several new proposals and claimed some top jobs at the company.

Source: The Wall Street Journal – 20 January 2013

USA: Sales of e-cigarettes continue to soar

Electronic cigarette makers have become increasingly aggressive in their advertising in the US, with one company even proclaiming that “Big Tobacco” has met its match. But the burgeoning industry is worried that an onslaught of taxes and regulations could snuff out its recent success.

The new assertiveness comes as tobacco analysts have started to acknowledge that growing demand for “e-cigs” in the US is slowly taking customers from tobacco giants such as Altria, Lorillard and RJ Reynolds.

Source: Financial Times – 21 January 2013

Europe caves in to Big Tobacco

Journalist David Cronin examines ther relationship between the European Commission and the tobacco industry and argues that it has capitulated to cigarette firms.

See also:
– EU commission accused of failing to regulate relations with tobacco industry, The Parliament

Source: New Europe – 13 January 2013

ITC Q3 profit up 21 percent as cigarette volumes improve

India’s biggest cigarette maker, ITC Ltd, beat estimates with a 21 percent rise in quarterly profit as cigarette volumes increased after four quarters of stagnant growth, aided by the launch of low-cost products during the quarter.
Source: Reuters – 18 January 2013
Recent Research

Childhood asthma ‘admissions down’ after smoking ban, prompts call for standardised packaging

New research by Imperial College has revealed that there was a 12% drop in the number of children admitted to hospital with severe asthma in the first year after the smoking ban in England.

Prior to the ban the number of admissions had been rising by more than 2% a year.

The fall was seen among boys and girls of all ages and across all demographic groups in both cities and rural areas.

At the time of the introduction of the ban many critics said smokers would respond by lighting up more at home – harming the health of their families. But the authors of this study say there is growing evidence that more people are insisting on smoke-free homes.

Asthma UK said the findings are “encouraging” and renewed its call for the introduction of plain standardised packaging for tobacco products.

Source: BBC News – 21 January 2013

USA: Two major new studies on smoking and mortality

Two new US studies examining smoking and mortality have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings from one of the studies indicated that the relative risk from dying of a smoking related death has grown substantially for women and is now at a level almost identical to that of men. For men, their risk of dying has plateaued and is sustained at the high levels previously witnessed in the 1980’s.

The second study, utilising data from the US National Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004, revealed that people who smoke take at least a decade off their overall life expectancy.

However, the research also found that stopping before the age of 40 eliminated 90% of the overall risk of a smoking associated death.

The conclusions from these American studies are almost identical to that of similar research conducted last year by researchers from Oxford.

Commenting on the finding in women to the BBC, lead researcher of the Oxford Study, Prof Sir Richard Peto, said: “If women smoke like men, they die like men.”

Source: USA Today – 23 January 2013

‘Less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes in China

While the ‘low-tar’ scheme has been widely recognised as a misleading tactic used by the tobacco industry to deceive the public about the true risks of cigarette smoking, a similar campaign using the slogan of ‘less harmful, low tar’ was launched by the Chinese tobacco industry, that is, State Tobacco Monopoly Administration/China National Tobacco Corporation and began to gain traction during the last decade. Despite the fact that no sufficient research evidence supports the claims made by the industry that these cigarettes are safer, the Chinese tobacco industry has continued to promote them using various health claims. As a result, the production and sales of ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes have increased dramatically since 2000. Recently, a tobacco industry senior researcher, whose main research area is ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes, was elected as an Academician to the prestigious Chinese Academy of Engineering for his contribution to developing ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes. The tobacco researcher’s election caused an outcry from the tobacco control community and the general public in China. This paper discusses the Chinese tobacco industry’s ‘less harmful, low-tar’ initiatives and calls for the Chinese government to stop the execution of this deceptive strategy for tobacco marketing.

Yang, G., Marketing ‘less harmful, low-tar’ cigarettes is a key strategy of the industry to counter tobacco control in China, Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050691

Source: BMJ – 24 January 2013

Cyprus smoking ban and hospitality venues

Several countries, including Cyprus, have passed smoke-free legislation in recent years. The goal of this study was to assess the indoor levels of particulate matter in hospitality venues in Cyprus before and after the implementation of the law on 1/1/2010, evaluate the role of enforcement, and examine the legislation’s effect on revenue and employment.

Methods Several hospitality venues (n = 35) were sampled between April 2007 and January 2008, and 21 of those were re-sampled after the introduction of the smoking ban, between March and May 2010. Data on enforcement was provided by the Cyprus Police whereas data on revenue and employment within the hospitality industry of Cyprus were obtained from the Cyprus Statistical Service; comparisons were made between the corresponding figures before and after the implementation of the law.

Results The median level of PM2.5 associated with secondhand smoking was 161 mug/m3 pre-ban and dropped to 3 mug/m3 post-ban (98% decrease, p < 0.0001). Furthermore, in the year following the ban, the hotel turnover rate increased by 4.1% and the restaurant revenue by 6.4%; employment increased that same year by 7.2% and 1.0%, respectively.

Conclusion Smoke free laws, when enforced, are highly effective in improving the air quality and reducing the levels of indoor PM2.5. Strict enforcement plays a key role in the successful implementation of smoking bans. Even in nations with high smoking prevalence comprehensive smoking laws can be effectively implemented and have no negative effect on accommodation, food, and beverage services.

Christophi, C., et al., The impact of the Cyprus comprehensive smoking ban on air quality and economic business of hospitality venues, BMC Public Health 2013, 13:76

Source: BMC – 27 January 2013

Japan: Smoking and skin colour in women

Objectives Having a lighter skin tone is highly valued among many Asian women. If skin colour is affected by smoking, women may be motivated to avoid tobacco or quit smoking. The present study examined the association of tobacco smoking with skin colour in Japanese women.

Method Information on smoking habits was obtained through a self-administered questionnaire completed by 939 Japanese women aged 20–74 in Gifu, Japan, during 2003–2006. Skin colour was examined on the inner side of the upper and lower arm and on the forehead using a Mexameter device (a narrow-band reflective spectrophotometer), which expressed results as a melanin index and erythema index.

Results Current smokers had higher melanin indices than never-smokers and former smokers for all measured sites. The number of cigarettes smoked per day, the years of smoking and pack-years were significantly positively associated with melanin indices for all measured sites after adjustments for age, body mass index, lifetime sun exposure, and room temperature and humidity. Smoking was also significantly associated with erythema indices on the inner upper and lower arms.

Conclusions These data suggest that smoking is associated with a darker skin colour. If our findings are confirmed by further studies, they could be used in antismoking campaigns or by smoking cessation services.

Tamai, Y., et al., Association of cigarette smoking with skin colour in Japanese women, Tob Control doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050524

Source: BMJ – 26 January 2013

Smoking and HIV

Cigarette smoking is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in the general population, and is a well-recognized risk factor for a variety of serious clinical conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases and cancers. Smoking-related morbidity and mortality are of particular concern in patients with HIV infection, as the prevalence of current cigarette smoking is higher among HIV-positive patients than among the general population. In a study by De et al., it has been evidenced that smoking is a risk factor for bacterial pneumonia in HIV-positive patients and smoking cessation reduces this risk. HIV-positive patients who smoke have significantly increased mortality compared to those who have never smoked, indicating that smoking confers different mortality risk in HIV-positive as compared to HIV-negative patients, and lifestyle-related factors may pose a greater hazard to long-term survival of HIV-positive patients than those related to the HIV infection per se. The high prevalence of smoking among HIV populations, the many health risks that can result from this behavior, and the proven efficacy of cessation interventions in HIV-positive patients should encourage HIV care providers to make smoking cessation a high priority.

Petrosillo and Cicalini, Smoking and HIV: time for a change?, BMC Medicine 2013, 11:16

See also:
Influence of smoking cessation on incidence of pneumonia in HIV, BMC

Source: BMC – 22 January 2013

11 February 2013 – Advancing the Global Non-Communicable Disease Movement

The aim of this two-day conference is to increase support for the commitments from the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by providing the evidence to help countries meet their commitments.

Day one: Launch of the new Lancet series on NCDs and development
Day two: Second annual symposium of the LSHTM Centre for Global NCDs with the Centre on Global Change and Health

Venue: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

19 February 2013 – The Battle against Big Tobacco, The adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive without Delay

In order to keep the momentum and address the challenges associated with the recent release of the Tobacco Products Directive, the MEPs Against Cancer, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) are organising this double event on the 19th of February:

* A high-profile seminar aiming at presenting and discussing the Commission’s plans for health for the coming two years,
* An exhibition on tobacco control in Europe.

Speakers from the European Commission, MEPs and representatives from the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union will attend the meeting and address issues related to one of the most controversial public health dossier.

Venue: European Parliament, Brussels

25 February 2013 – Plotting a New Course

Plotting a New Course is a forum for the critical analysis of responses to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Two days of presentations, debate and discussion. Cross-cutting themes link social policy, public health, law enforcement, supply, treatment and harm reduction.
Venue: Friends House, Euston, London

14 March 2013 – Lunch Hour Lecture: Cigarettes: the most successful product ever

Despite five decades of research into the harms of smoking and numerous successful public health campaigns, many people take up and continue with the habit. Cigarette sales remain high as tobacco companies excel at marketing. In the United States, more than $8 billion was spent by the tobacco companies on marketing and advertising in 2011-12, compared to $457 million spent by the government in preventing or reducing tobacco use. This lecture will explore what has been learnt from 50 years of research, including the benefits of quitting at any age, and plans for future policies.

Speaker: Prof Allan Hackshaw, UCL Cancer Institute

Venue: Darwin Lecture Theatre access via Malet Place, Darwin Building, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT

20 March 2013 – ‘Making Smoking History’ – Faster strides towards a smokefree North East

To mark the moment in 2013 when local authorities take on responsibility for public health, Fresh with the Association of North East Councils is hosting a split 1½ day conference (funded by NHS North East) of presentations, panel discussions, audience debate and practical workshops, aimed at sharing ideas, evidence and innovation with senior decision makers, managers, elected members and also for those involved in the day to day delivery of tobacco control.

Registration closes on 28th February

Venue: The Ramside Hall Hotel, Carrville, Durham, DH1 1TD

21 March 2013 – European Healthy Stadia Conference 2013

This event will bring together decision makers from sports clubs, stadia, sports governing bodies, health agencies across Europe, including chief executives, facilities managers, corporate communications, catering managers, community foundation staff and CSR managers.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

22 April 2013 – European Primary Prevention Conference (EPPC)

A conference focused on early tobacco-alcohol-drug prevention for young people and their families
Venue: Tallinn Health Care College, Tallinn, Estonia

31 May 2013 – World No Tobacco Day 2013

Every year, on 31 May, The World Health Organisation and partners everywhere mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2013 is: ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Venue: Everywhere

20 June 2013 – ASH Scotland 40th Anniversary Conference: Towards a Generation Free From Tobacco

Bringing together delegates from Scotland, the rest of the UK and across the world, the conference will provide an opportunity for tobacco control advocates, policy makers, researchers, health practitioners and community development professionals to learn from international good practice and innovation.

Themes to be explored include industry and regulation, protection from second-hand smoke, youth smoking prevention, cessation services in our communities and the role of advocacy in driving policy.

There will be a special focus on addressing health inequality and new ways of working with hard-to-reach groups.

Venue: The John McIntyre Conference Centre Holyrood Park, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

27 June 2013 – UK National Smoking Cessation Conference

Key topics for 2013 include the NICE guidance on tobacco harm reduction, e-cigarettes, electronic aids to cessation, getting the most out of current treatments, smoking cessation and mental health, international comparisons of tobacco treatment, treating pregnant smokers and the politics of tobacco growing – making it an essential event for everyone in the smoking cessation and tobacco control fields.
Venue: Victoria Park Plaza, London

Obama DOE Fracked Gas Export Study Contractor’s Tobacco Industry Roots

Weekend Edition January 25-27, 2013

Smoke and Mirrors

Obama DOE Fracked Gas Export Study Contractor’s Tobacco Industry Roots


At first, it was kept secret for months, cryptically referred to only as an “unidentified third-party contractor.”

Finally, in November 2012, Reuters revealed the name of the corporate consulting firm the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hired to produce a study on the prospective economic impacts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

LNG is the super-chilled final product of gas obtained – predominatly in today’s context – via the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process taking place within shale deposits located throughout the U.S. This “prize” is shipped from the multitude of domestic shale basins in pipelines to various coastal LNG terminals, and then sent on LNG tankers to the global market.

The firm: National Economic Research Associates (NERA) Economic Consulting, has a long history of pushing for deregulation. Its claim to fame: the deregulation ”studies” it publishes on behalf of the nuclear, coal, and oil/gas industry – and as it turns out, Big Tobacco, too.

Alfred E. Kahn, the late “Father of Deregulation,” founded NERA in 1961 along with Irwin Stelzer, now a senior fellow and director of the right-wing Hudson Institute’s Center for Economic Policy.

The NERA/Obama DOE LNG export economic impact study, released in early-December 2012, concluded that exporting the U.S. shale gas bounty is in the best economic interest of the country. The commenting period for that study closes today at 4:30 PM EST.

This conclusion drew metaphorical hisses from many analysts, including prominent shale gas market economist and former Wall Street investor Deborah Rogers, who now maintains the blog Energy Policy Forum. Her critique cut straight to the very foundation of the study itself, stating that “economic model[s] are only as good as their inputs.”

She proceeded to explain,

In fact, it is neither difficult nor unusual for models to be designed to favor one outcome over another. In other words, models can be essentially reverse engineered. This is especially true when the models have been commissioned by industries that stand to gain significantly in monetary terms. Or government agencies which are perhaps pushing a political agenda.

Beyond its history working as a hired gun for the fossil fuel industry, NERA also has deeper historical roots producing “smoke and mirrors” studies on behalf of the tobacco industry. The long view of the firm’s past is something NERA would likely rather see “go up in smoke,” forever buried in the historical annals. But that would be a disservice to U.S. taxpayers since NERA continues to receive government contracts to produce tobacco-era disinformation to this day.

NERA and the “Tobacco Playbook”

Many fossil fuel industry public relations flacks learned the tactics of mass manipulation by reading the “tobacco playbook,” meticulously documented in Naomi Oreskes’ and Erik Conway’s classic book, “Merchants of Doubt.”

Doubt is our product,” a tobacco industry CEO once said of the playbook, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

NERA Health “Benefits” of Smoking

The University of California-San Francisco’s Tobacco Archives reveal NERA worked on behalf of the tobacco industry dating back at least to 1986.

A May memo from that year written by then NERA Vice President William B. Shew (who now works at the previously mentioned Hudson Institute as an Adjunct Fellow alongside NERA Founder, Irwin Stelzer) addressed to Arnold & Porter attorney Thomas Silfen says the tobacco industry should aim to explain the so-called health “benefits” of smoking.

Most studies don’t explain “the satisfactions that induce smokers to put up with health hazards,” Shew explains in the memo. “This imbalance would be rectified by looking at the satisfaction derived from smoking.”

At the time of the internal memo’s publication, Arnold & Porter served as national counsel for Philip Morris.

A memo published in 1988 by Silfen posits that Big Tobacco has an obligation going forward to overcome its “long agony over health issues–to get the industry out of the ‘it hasn’t been proven’ trap once and for all.”

Attempt to Defeat L.A.’s Restaurant Smoking Ban

Working alongside public relations industry giant Ogilvy-Mather and the Tobacco Institute, NERA also attempted to defeat the then-proposed smoking ban in Los Angeles County in 1990, the Tobacco Archives reveal.

SourceWatch details that the Tobacco Institute hired Ogilvy ”to provide public affairs consulting services aimed at helping the Instutitute fight cigarette excise taxes, public smoking restrictions and to help with coalition building issues,” proceeding to explain that it helped to “devise ad campaigns to take the public’s focus off the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

Among other accolades, Ogilvy helped BP rebrand itself ”Beyond Petroluem,” a propaganda campaign which won the corporation nowinfamous for its Gulf Coast oil disaster the PR Week ”Brand of the Year” in 2001. Critics at the time called it a case of “greenwashing.”

Yet in the end, it was a case of “too little, too late” for NERA, Ogilvy and the Tobacco Institute.

In 1990, San Luis Obispo, CA “became the first city in the world to ban indoor smoking at all public places, including bars and restaurants,” according to the San Francisco Gate. By 1998, California adopted these regulations as the law of the land statewide.

NERA Offers Philip Morris Advertising Analytics

In 1992, tobacco giant Philip Morris hired NERA to analyze whether cigarette advertisements made an impact on consumption habits. This came during a time when the industry faced sharp scrunity for whitewashing the dangerous health impacts of smoking in its ads.

Given this premise, it’s no shock NERA concluded that the concerns about the effectiveness of Big Tobacco’s advertising charm offensive were overblown.

“The issue of whether cigarette advertising has had any effect on cigarette consumption per adult in Western countries over the last several decades remains uncertain,” NERA explained in the lenghty report now posted on the Tobacco Archives. “However, it seems clear that advertising has had at most a minor effect, if any, on consumption per adult.”

NERA/Philip Morris’ War on OSHA and Maryland Workplace Smoking Regs

Later, in 1994 and 1995, the Tobacco Archives also reveal that NERA served as a contractor for Philip Morris (now owned by Altria Group), taking the fight to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposal to implement regulations for smoking on the job.

OSHA proposed banning smoking everywhere within the workplace except for in small, desiginated and isolated lounges.

Dr. Albert L . Nichols authored a Dec. 1995 NERA economic study contracted out by Philip Morris which critiqued OSHA regulations. That study predictably concluded that OSHA’s regulations were “draconian” in nature, suggesting OSHA relied on “patently ludicrous” economic assumptions.

While NERA/Philip Morris waged its battle against OSHA, NERA also devoted itself to fighting back against Maryland’s state-level workplace smoking regulations.

A Feb. 1995 Associated Press article quotes Nichols saying that cigarette sales in Maryland “could fall by $27 million” on an annual basis if the regulations are implemented.

Much to NERA’s chagrin, a month later, the proposed regulations became Maryland state law.

Should Firm with Big Tobacco Roots Be Trusted?

The Sierra Club is skeptical of the Obama DOE’s choice of NERA as the contractor to perform the fracked gas LNG export study. The Club just filed a Freedom of Information Act request to ascertain exactly how the Department went about choosing NERA for its “study” that will play a large part in shaping the future of global energy markets.

“Deciding to export the U.S. gas supply is a major public decision,” Deb Nardone, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign, said in a press release. “We deserve a full and fair conversation about it. That’s why we deserve to know how and why DOE picked this anti-environmental, pro-corporate consultant for this crucial report.”

With easily apparent deep-seated roots dating back to the halcyon days of Big Tobacco, the DOE’s NERA selection begs the question: Can one view the NERA/Obama DOE economic findings on LNG exports as anything but a deeply cynical PR ploy?

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog.

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More mainland girls smoke than officials claim, says researcher

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Home > More mainland girls smoke than officials claim, says researcher

More mainland girls smoke than officials claim, says researcher

Submitted by admin on Jan 15th 2013, 12:00am



Alice Yan

Researcher says real figure is about four times higher than officials claim

The number of mainland girls who smoke may be higher than the authorities recognise, a Shanghai-based health research team has found.

According to a two-year study led by Ma Jin of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s school of public health, up to 14 per cent of girls on the mainland could be smokers, much higher than the rate estimated in an earlier government study.

The China Tobacco Control Blueprint (2012-2015), issued by seven state ministries and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration last year, put the number of mainland teenagers who smoke at 11.5 per cent. It said only 3.6 per cent of girls smoked, compared with 18.4 per cent of boys.

Ma’s study, published in The Lancet medical journal last month, also reported that the number of adult women smokers on the mainland reported by authorities could be a third lower than the actual figure.

Ma said his survey gave a more accurate picture of mainland tobacco-use in comparison with a similar study led by State University of New York Professor Gary Giovino published in the same journal in August.

According to Giovino’s study, which analysed tobacco use in 16 countries, more than half of mainland males over the age of 15 smoked. The figure was only 2 per cent for females. The study estimated the mainland has 301 million smokers. The results from his study matched estimates of mainland authorities.

Ma said Giovino’s study used a self-report method which was regarded as reliable in some Western countries, but it “severely” underestimated the true number of smokers on the mainland.

“Young students, especially girls, and adult women tend to cover up their identities as smokers because of pressure from society, which generally regards smoking as bad behaviour for students and women,” he said.

Ma’s study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Shanghai’s municipal government, canvassed 11,104 people, which included students aged 12 to 20 and their parents from five city districts.

The students are from 18 high schools, 45 junior middle schools and five technical schools, and these schools are located in five central and suburb districts in Shanghai

“We focus on young people’s smoking activities because many smokers initiate this addiction when they are young,” Ma said.

His team first asked the students to answer a questionnaire, based on a World Health Organisation questionnaire template on juvenile smoking behaviour. The questionnaire found 13.6 per cent of boys and 5.2 per cent of girls smoked. But Ma thought the figures were far too low in light of his everyday observations.

So his team adopted a “capture-recapture” method – resampling the schools – to adjust the results.

They concluded that the real smoking rates for boys should be 18.3 per cent and 14.2 per cent for girls.

“The actual number of smokers in China could be substantially higher than 301 million,” Ma wrote in The Lancet. “Such underestimation could hinder our ability to assess the progress of current and future intervention efforts.”

Compared with Western countries, where a high percentage of teenagers let their parents know of their habit, in Shanghai, only 2.9 per cent of boys’ parents and 0.6 per cent of girls’ parents were aware that their children smoked, Ma’s survey found.

He said most students were encouraged to smoke by their peers and ignored all the health warnings because they thought holding a cigarette and blowing a smoke ring was “cool”.

Wu Yiqun , deputy director of the Beijing-based Think Tank Research Centre for Health Development, said the number of juvenile smokers on the mainland had been increasing over the past decade and children were taking up the habit at a younger age.

“Preventing children and teenagers from smoking is vital for our smoke-control campaign because people pick up habits when they are young and smoking is especially bad for their health since their bodies are growing,” she said.

Three years ago, the Ministry of Education launched a nationwide “non-smoking schools” movement which bans smoking in outdoor and indoor areas at primary and middle schools and kindergartens.



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Former England captain and cricket commentator Tony Greig passes away after battle with lung cancer

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Hong Kong should seize initiative to become smoke free

Submitted by admin on Dec 13th 2012, 12:00am

Comment›Insight & Opinion

SCMP Editorial

Statistically, Hong Kong stands a chance of being the world’s first city to be declared smoke-free, which is defined as having less than 5 per cent of the population smoking. With only an estimated 11 to 12 per cent of people over 15 smoking, we already have the lowest rate in the Asia-Pacific region and what would appear to be the best among developed societies.

But the world is watching to see if Australia snatches the smoke-free title from under our noses. On December 1 a law forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in identical plain, drab packets featuring graphic health warnings came into effect in Australia in an effort to strip away any fashion or glamour and discourage young people from taking up the habit.

The government pressed ahead with the new law, the first of its kind anywhere, after it was upheld by the country’s top court. This despite continuing legal challenges and threats by the tobacco industry over claimed infringement of its intellectual rights and unfair restriction of trade. The lure is the potential saving of 15,000 lives lost to smoking-related diseases each year, and A$31.5 billion (HK$262.86 billion) annually in related healthcare costs and lost productivity.

What is Hong Kong waiting for in following suit? Our indoor no-smoking regime is plagued by defiance, weak enforcement and poor law drafting, which does not hold managers and owners of bars, discos and the like liable for breaches of the law.

That our smoking levels are so low is thanks to three decades of campaigning by anti-tobacco lobbyists, government education campaigns, indoor bans and tax increases that have hurt smokers badly in the pocket for the sake of their health. But it is still not uncommon to see smoking in some pubs, nightclubs and karaoke bars. Busy shopping districts are prone to pollution by the cigarette smoke of tourists, particularly those from the mainland. Overseas studies show that children remain easily influenced by the behaviour of their parents and peers.

Do we really need to wait and see how the Australian initiative turns out before considering further measures?


Smoke free

Hong Kong



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